Manchester United suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday evening – but Gary Neville does not believe manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be sacked
Gary Neville launched a staunch defence of his former team-mate and current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Liverpool’s 5-0 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Red Devils capitulated against Jurgen Klopp’s side and Anfield greats Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness criticised Solskjaer at full-time.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said: “You’re at Man United. It’s a big boy game, a big boy club and if you lose to Liverpool 5-0 at home, you’re going to come under big pressure.
“If this was in the post Sir Alex [Ferguson] aftermath, Ole would be in massive trouble tonight.
“I think the club will hold their nerve, I don’t think they’ve planned for another manager and they’ll sit with Ole until the end of the season.
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“There will be a massive outcry from the fans and media – from everybody – that he should be sacked and I can understand why after that game.
“It takes some recovery. I lost 7-0 in Barcelona once and I knew I was done [as Valencia manager].
“I’d like to hear from the board, to communicate with the fans, to say if they are going to back the manager over the next six months.
“The media have asked questions and the feeling is they believe in the project. Ole believes he’s close, I remain to be convinced. Man Utd aren’t good.”
Carragher, though, believes it is time for United to end Solskjaer’s three-year spell at Old Trafford and appoint a more prestigious, experienced manager.
The Liverpool icon said: “I think it’s a state of panic now for United.
“On Monday I wasn’t trying to be critical of Ole. I think he’s done a good job but at this point, to take on the other clubs, they need a better manager.
“I felt for Ole. That will be the darkest day in his career and you always have that sympathy for the manager.
“But I feel comfortable saying United need a new manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will never be either Klopp, [Thomas] Tuchel or [Pep] Guardiola.”
Neville then responded to his Sky Sports colleague, insisting that United have previously gone for a big-name manager and it hasn’t worked out for them.
The former United defender replied: “I’ve seen Jose [Mourinho] and [Louis] Van Gaal come in and was disappointed.
“I never asked for Ron Atkinson to be sacked, I didn’t want [David] Moyes to be sacked… They will stick with Ole and he has to win something this season.
“Jose was the best manager in the world and couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t bring [Antonio] Conte in to United. He’s not a fit for United. I might be wrong but I don’t think that he is.
“I think it would be wrong to sack Ole today. I sacked a manager after six games last season [at Salford City], it was the wrong thing to do, I should’ve let things breathe.”
Although Souness didn’t suggest United should sack Solskjaer, he did criticise the Norwegian coach’s work behind the scenes.
The former Liverpool manager said: “United should have a week without the ball and think about where you should be and what you need to do without the ball.
“I started the programme by saying pressing doesn’t work if everyone isn’t doing it. It comes down to management and they can’t be brilliant at doing that.
“They’re not doing it collectively. They have to drop off so you’re all there together.
“I’ve been a manager, I know it’s difficult. I’ll never say a manager should go but he needs help.
“If the club will stick with Ole and that’s the plan the manager needs help because that’s as plain as a nose in your face.
“You must have a game plan. Their game plan, I don’t know what it was.”
Carragher replied: “We know some of the staff. United should have the best in class and have the best coaching staff in the world.
“If you have Solskjaer in charge you need someone like Carlo Queiroz as a coach. You can’t have three or four people at the same time learning on the job.
“Mike Phelan isn’t, but they’ve got [Michael] Carrick and [Kieran] McKenna who’ve never been at a club like this.”
Neville then said: “What I do know is the reflection on the pitch isn’t good enough. Ole has done a good job but this is going to put him under pressure, the last thing I’m going to do is turn on his staff.
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“When the muck hits the fan everyone gets a bit and that’s what’s happening here tonight. I brought a coach in at Valencia to save me. It doesn’t work.”
Souness then concluded: “The communication is not there. The players aren’t taking the message on. You can’t as a United supporter think, ‘We’ll plough on and see where it takes us.’
“I’m more than happy to say this is arguably the biggest football club in the world but they need help. Whatever message they’re trying to get across is not working.”